Mansfield council recommended to save Berry Hill Park in make-or-break report

A make-or-break report which could see Berry Hill Park close for good has recommended that Mansfield District Council become 'corporate trustees' of the site.

The council's environment chief Councillor Andy Burgin is expected to assess the new report on Friday, July 5, which sets out whether the council should save the at-risk park from closure.

The protest on November 10 to 'Save Our Park'.

The protest on November 10 to 'Save Our Park'.

It follows concerns that the park would close after the Berry Hill Park Trustees announced in October 2018 that they could "no longer afford" the park's upkeep.

Mansfield District Council stepped in after public pressure in the form of protests and a petition, with a temporary six-month promise to "oversee the park's maintenance".

But now that the six-month period has concluded, the council is set to decide on its long-term commitment to the park.

The report, which outlines the "financial implications" of becoming 'corporate trustees', implies that the council will have to find "a maximum of £211,115" from its 'general fund', leaving a shortfall in the budget moving forward.

Berry Hill Park.

Berry Hill Park.

This figure includes maintenance and upkeep of the woodland and electrical and infrastructure repairs, as well as separate upkeep of the athletics track through a Sport England grant which runs until 2024.

READ MORE: Future of Mansfield's Berry Hill Park to be decided this week
The council previously took control of the Racecourse Park Trust in a similar scheme to the recommendations of the report, which states that the "the council may be criticised if it does not take on the park and the park does not remain open to the public".

The report said: "The park is in a reasonable condition, however a recent survey of the park undertaken earlier this year has identified that there are a number or repairs needed.

"The council has experience of managing trusts previously, for example Racecourse Park Trust. It will adopt a similar system of governance if appointed as 'corporate trustee'.

Clare Dobb, organiser of the protest and petition to save the park.

Clare Dobb, organiser of the protest and petition to save the park.

"In this respect the council as a whole will be appointed as trustee and will then delegate day to day management of the park to the council’s head of neighbourhood services in conjunction with members.

"If council determines to take on the 'corporate trusteeship', further investigation of the opportunities for third party funding would be made to support the development of the park.

"The existing trustees have indicated that if the council do not take on the 'corporate trusteeship' role, they will close the park to the public. They will then consider selling the park.

"This report advises that, if recommended by the portfolio holder, the council becomes 'corporate trustee of the park."

Your Chad's front page today, calling on Coun Burgin to save our park.

Your Chad's front page today, calling on Coun Burgin to save our park.

In the print edition of your Chad today (July 3), we call on Coun Burgin to do the right thing by approving the plans and saving our park.

Coun Burgin was contacted for a comment.